Cambridge dons new wireless network

The University of Cambridge is overhauling its legacy network infrastructure in order to provide its staff and students with hotspot access.

The university's computing service department is looking to replace the ageing large area network (LAN) components after maintenance became too difficult to manage and too costly to maintain.

As a result, the university selected

Aruba's wireless LAN equipment for its centralised management, minimised deployment and support costs and its remote access point (RAP) technology.

Next year celebrating 800 years since it was founded, the university is structured to allow its 31 colleges to act as independent institutions. This means the network division of the computing service department must act as a service provider, working with the colleges and departments to provide its so-called Lapwing' wireless hotspot service, through which students and faculty members access the university's administrative and learning resources.

Bob Franklin of the University Computing Services network division said: "Since we serve many masters, it is paramount that the wireless network be adaptable to a wide range of needs, simple to manage with minimal staff overhead, self-adjusting to accommodate dynamically changing local conditions and cost effective for our clients - the colleges."

Aruba's RAP technology has enabled the creation of a private' network with local bridging to IT resources and services within each college. The service provided features identity-based security that associates policies with users instead of network hardware, delivering the same levels of security across the organisation. And the university also plans to use Aruba's voice quality of service (QoS) feature to implement voice applications in future.

Franklin added: "Aruba's wireless architecture minimised the time required for our initial deployment and has delivered robust Wi-Fi performance ever since. The network's centralised management and RAP technology are supremely scalable with a minimum number of controllers and have cut our support overhead costs by minimising field visits."

He also said that, with the support services of Aruba-authorised integrator Vanix, the university's network division can now support an expanded network with its existing staff, while simultaneously passing operating expense savings directly to the colleges.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.